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Monday, April 11, 2005


 

Eason Jordan and the deliberate U.S. targeting of journalists


The Nation magazine this week carries a letter by yours truly, basically echoing the contents of this post:
Jeremy Scahill's article [Shooting the Messenger, March 7, 2005] was an excellent overview of the fate that journalists have suffered in Iraq at the hands of the U.S. military, but it didn't answer one question - does the U.S. deliberately target journalists? The answer is clearly "yes", and I'm surprised Scahill didn't mention it, since he was instrumental in exposing that fact. On Jan. 26, 2004, Democracy Now! featured aninterview Scahill conducted with Gen. Wesley Clark, who was in charge of NATO forces who bombed Radio Television Serbia, killing 16 journalists. Clark vigorously defends that bombing in the interview, although he tries to escape responsibility for the deaths by asserting that "Milosevic was warned." The deliberate targeting of Radio Television Serbia remains an undisputed fact. Although Clark talks about how it was a "command and control" center, at the time, various pronouncements by the U.S. government made it quite clear that it was the alleged "propaganda" being dispensed, that is, its journalistic output, that qualified RTS as a "command and control" center, and nothing else.

It's also worth remembering that, although no one was killed in the attack, the U.S. quite deliberately bombed and destroyed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul during the assault on Afghanistan. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command said the bombing was based on "compelling" evidence that the facility was being used by al Qaeda, but, needless to say, no compelling evidence, or any evidence at all, was ever released to back up his claim.

Does the U.S. military deliberately target journalists? Unquestionably yes.
What was news to me was the letter which followed mine, from Jay Lyon, which provides an interesting and important bit of additional information about the same history:
There's an interesting backstory to the news that former CNN executive Eason Jordan, chased from his job by right-wing bloggers for saying he believed journalists killed by coalition forces in Iraq had been targeted. During its 1999 war in Yugoslavia, NATO disliked the way the central Serb TV station in Belgrade was covering the fighting. Jordan, then head of CNN International, was informed that NATO planned to attack the station. He protested and the jets veered away during their first sortie. Jordan had time to clear out CNN's crew and equipment from the building. Two days later, on April 23, NATO struck, killing sixteen journalists and technicians. After the war ended, in October 1999, Jordan revealed the story of the premeditated attack at the "News World" media conference in Barcelona.

Why stop here? There's more...

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